Because movies often blend history and drama, it's difficult to assess whether or not some of the most memorable movie lines are based in truth, or a case of writers adding stuff for dramatic effect. More often than you'd suspect, many of the most biting quotes from movies can be attributed to actual individuals.
While some of the best insults, the most devious rejoinders, and the boldest fighting quotes from movies may take a bit of poetic license, they also offer up a whole lot of savage honesty. Which one of these quotes is the most surprisingly real?
- Photo: United 93 / Universal Pictures
Quote: "Let's roll."
Speaker: Todd Beamer (played by David Alan Basche) in United 93 (2006).
Context: On September 11, 2001, passengers and crew on United Flight 93 stood up to their hijackers in an attempt to take back the plane. They ultimately thwarted the hijacker's plans to crash the Boeing 757 into a government building in Washington, DC.
Todd Beamer was one of the individuals on board the plane. Beamer tried to call his family, but was redirected to Lisa Jefferson, an operator for the GTE Airfone. He described to Jefferson what was happening on the plane, crying out, "We're going down! We're going down!" as Flight 93 veered off course.
Beamer, Mark Bingham, Jeremy Glick, Tom Burnett, and others decided to, in the words of Glick, "rush the hijackers." After praying with Jefferson, Beamer "said he was going to have to go out on faith because they were talking about jumping the guy with the bomb." Jefferson recalled listening as Beamer shifted his focus:
He was still holding the phone, but he was not talking to me, he was talking to someone else and I could tell he had turned away. And he said: "You ready. Okay, let's roll."
A struggle ensued and the out-of-control plane crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. There were no survivors.Surprisingly real?
6. Giles Corey Really Did Demand 'More Weight,' As He Says In ‘The Crucible’Photo: 20th Century Fox
Quote: "More weight."
Speaker: Giles Corey (played by Peter Vaughan) in The Crucible (1996).
Context: The Crucible presents a dramatized version of the Salem witch trials, but does incorporate actual individuals who lost their lives amid accusations of witchcraft during the late 17th century. Of the 19 men and women executed for being witches in 1692 and 1693, Giles Corey was about 80 years old at the time of his demise.
When Corey was put on trial in September, he pleaded not guilty to charges of witchcraft, but refused to recognize the authority of the court. Realizing he was already presumed guilty, Corey remained silent, even when faced with the peine forte et dure - "strong and hard punishment" or, as it was colloquially known, pressing. This cruelty took the form of placing an individual underneath a board and setting stones on top of it until the person was crushed.
Corey defiantly underwent pressing on September 19, 1692 "in an open field near the jail," where it was later said his "ghost haunted the grounds." According to Salem Witchcraft, a record of the events written by Charles Wentworth Upham in 1867:
[Corey] urged the executioner to increase the weight which was crushing him, that he told them it was of no use to expect him to yield, that there could be but one way of ending the matter, and that they might as well pile on the rocks.
An observer recalled that, "as his body yielded to the pressure, his tongue protruded from his mouth, and an official forced it back with his cane." This tradition surrounding Corey's execution lived on through songs sung by local children, with the lines, "'More weight! more weight!' Giles Corey he cried."Surprisingly real?
- Photo: MGM Distribution Co.
Quote: "Long live our sacred Germany!"
Speaker: Claus von Stauffenberg (played by Tom Cruise) in Valkyrie (2008).
Context: Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg was a colonel in the German army during the era of the Third Reich. Von Stauffenberg and several fellow conspirators tried to assassinate the Third Reich leader on July 20, 1944. They placed an incendiary device in a conference room at the leader's headquarters in Poland, a device that von Stauffenberg carried in his briefcase when he attended a briefing with the Führer. After the device detonated, four men were slain, but the leader was still alive.
Von Stauffenberg retreated to Berlin, where a failed coup was underway. Apprehended and sentenced to execution, von Stauffenberg reportedly cried out one of two phrases as he met his end. By some accounts, he said, "Es lebe das heilige Deutschland!" or "Long live our sacred Germany!" Other observers recalled von Stauffenberg's final words as, "Es lebe das geheime Deutschland!" or "Long live the secret Germany."Surprisingly real?
- Photo: Focus Features/Universal
Quote: "We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender..."
Speaker: Winston Churchill (played by Gary Oldman) in Darkest Hour (2017).
Context: Churchill did utter these words, but historical memory of exactly when they were said is a bit confused. In Darkest Hour, Churchill delivers his "Beaches" speech to Parliament as British politicians and royalty listen to his address on the radio. The words spoken by Churchill were put forward to the House of Commons on June 4, 1940, but in the movie it's late May instead of early June.
There were similar orations by Churchill on several occasions during the spring of 1940, however. As the Dunkirk evacuation was underway, Churchill gave the speech to the British War Cabinet on May 28, telling them, "We shall go on and we shall fight it out, here or elsewhere, and if at last the long story is to end, it were better it should end, not through surrender, but only when we are rolling senselessly upon the ground."
Churchill also gave a variant of the "Beaches" speech on June 18, but it wasn't recorded. In fact, Parliamentary proceedings weren't broadcast over the radio until 1975. Churchill didn't actually record the speech until 1949, but it wasn't widely known until 1964, when his words were released to the public.Surprisingly real?